On Wednesday, David woke up from the long weekend and chose to write a take hotter than a Land Rover with a blown head gasket. For reasons still not understood by the rest of the Autopian staff, our dear leader carted himself around last weekend by renting a 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer with 148,000 miles and an illuminated check engine light. The cost? $82 a day on Turo. By the end of his journey, David concluded that the Trailblazer is more or less the poor man’s Toyota Land Cruiser.
I tell you what, some of you readers just were not having that take. Today’s COTD winner is NephewOfBaconator, for making me laugh with this comparison:
The First-Gen Chevy TrailblazerCat Food Is A Great Low-Cost Toyota Land CruiserSteak Alternative
Perhaps technically true but I’m not sure I can stomach it.
Looks like one reader is as confused as we are, poor TxJeepGuy:
How much was a normal rental car by comparison? Paying $80 plus dollars a day to drive a Trailblazer with 6 digits on its odometer is crazy to me.
The crowd wasn’t totally hard on the ol’ Trailblazer, from Lockleaf:
I’ve owned 2 of the Saab whatchacallits with a hyphen (9-7X). Maybe its not much of a compliment, but they are easily the best of the GMT-360s. The leather is a cut above normal GM leather, not falling apart on the drivers seat even after 15+ years and 175K miles. Overall Saab made it a much nicer place to be over the TB. Minus the dash mounted cup holder, which is a POS.
I really enjoyed them both. Yes, there are issues, but anyone comfy with any domestic of the period is already fine with those issues.
The Atlas motor has the advantage of a common 5 speed transmission that is pretty durable (MA5), which makes a cool swap. However, my experience is that there are always 4 of them for sale around me with a failed crank bearing. So I don’t really trust the bottom end.
Both of mine were 5.3 LS based engines. I deleted AFM on both, one mechanically and one just in the ECU, and have had thousands of miles of relatively trouble free ownership. And that includes a pretty fair number of miles towing a loaded 3 horse trailer or a car hauler.
The Saab also came with air springs in the rear and auto leveling and it worked fantastically. Very comfortable to drive loaded or unloaded.
The front suspension design creates lift and tire size limitations. The lug pattern is exclusive to the chassis (its different from all other GM 6 lug until maybe recently?), which always annoyed me.
So overall, I’m a fan of the 360s, even if they were badge engineered to every single brand owned by GM.
Now, to be fair to David, he didn’t say that the Trailblazer is on the same level as a Lexus. David’s take was more or less saying that if you don’t have Lexus money, a Trailblazer or one of its many badge mates will get you close enough. There’s a pretty big gulf between the price of a Trailblazer and a GX, after all. Yes, the GX is a far better vehicle, but if you don’t have the cash, that fact really doesn’t matter.
Personally, if you must go down this route, I’d go with something like a GMC Envoy or a Saab 9-7. Both have far better interiors than the Trailblazer and at least the GMC will have more or less the same capability. A 15-year-old me learned to drive in an Envoy XL and I still have fond memories of it. Every once in a while I think about picking up an Envoy XL or a wacky Envoy XUV as a Gambler 500 rig…
Have a great evening, everyone!